Radiohead has a rather dour reputation, one built on the backs of everything from their debut single, “Creep,” to the sad, spacey wanderings of “Daydreaming,” off the band’s 2016 hit A Moon Shaped Pool. Now, one ambitious fan has determined the most depressing Radiohead song of all. But rather than some more ambiguous metric—like, say, playing each of their songs on repeat, and then determining which one drove him most dramatically to drink—analyst RCharlie has done some pretty nifty data collection to justify his pick.
Interestingly, Spotify has already done some research on the “saddest” songs; the streaming service keeps track of a stat called valence, a psychological term that describes things that make people feel happy or sad. RCharlie used the company’s Web API to pull that data for all of Radiohead’s songs, determining that “We Suck Young Blood” off of Hail To The Thief and “True Love Waits” from Moon Shaped Pool shared the lowest values. He then added in lyrical analysis, using data from a crowdsourced database of sadness-inducing words, plus their lyrical density and weight in each Radiohead song, to create his own self-styled “gloom index” for the band’s output.
In the end, ”True Love Waits”—a longtime staple of the band’s live shows which finally made it onto an album after nearly 20 years of fiddling and rearranging—was the winner, scientifically certified as the Radiohead song most likely to make you feel like a glum Thom Yorke as you drag yourself wearily out of bed. Meanwhile, Moon Shaped Pool was also the band’s saddest album overall, beating out Amnesiac and OK Computer for the title.
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